Is the National Anthem Racist?

There are several possible answers to this question:

1) Of course, because everything is racist.

2) It’s anyone’s guess. The word “racist” has no meaning.

3) Don’t be stupid.

“Yes” isn’t really on the list. Yet the California chapter of the NAACP is trying to get rid of the National Anthem:

The California NAACP is pushing to get rid of the national anthem that they’re calling racist and anti-black.

“This song is wrong; it shouldn’t have been there, we didn’t have it ’til 1931, so it won’t kill us if it goes away,” said the organization’s president Alice Huffman.

You probably have heard something about this faux controversy. It relates to the third stanza of the Anthem, which hardly anyone has ever heard sung. Only recently have activists dredged up that long-forgotten stanza to make political hay out of it. It says:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

NAACP leader Alice Huffman says “…some interpretations conclude that the lyrics celebrate the deaths of black American slaves fighting for freedom.” If so, those interpretations are silly. The song celebrates the fact that “hireling[s] and slave[s]” who fought for the British lost the battle of Fort McHenry. The verse is no more anti-slave (let alone anti-Black) than it is anti-hireling. Francis Scott Key wasn’t expressing an opinion on mercenary armies or slavery, he was celebrating his country’s victory over those who fought for the British–whoever they may be–in the battle.

This is a good example of how the Left, in its ceaseless effort to divide Americans against each other, often shoots itself in the foot.

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